Taiga is a wild impenetrable coniferous forest that has no end and no beginning. Such forests are considered the largest terrestrial natural area, which occupies about 27 percent of the entire forest area of the Earth.
Features of the taiga
Taiga is located in the northern part of Eurasia and North America. On the territory of the North American continent, the taiga zone is located from west to east. It extends across areas of Canada, Alaska and the northern states of America. In Eurasia, the taiga starts from the Scandinavian Peninsula and extends from the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The Eurasian taiga is considered the largest continuous forest zone on our planet.
Also, the taiga is considered the northernmost forest zone, as it grows in harsh climatic conditions. It is a forest zone dominated by coniferous trees. It is noteworthy that the needles of the needles contain special acids that help maintain a high level of soil moisture and affect the breakdown of the mineral component of the soil. Deciduous trees are almost never found in the taiga, due to their inability to adapt to such a harsh climate.
The taiga is known as a supplier of oxygen to the atmosphere, which is why it is often called the green lungs of the Earth.
Soil formation is limited by harsh climatic conditions, a short growing season, deep and prolonged soil freezing. The most common soil-forming rocks are loamy-rubbly thin eluvial-deluvial deposits, which are spread by dense bedrocks. Most soils have thin and gravel profiles that are not differentiated into horizons. They are characterized by a coarse-humus horizon and the presence of flowing fulvate humus throughout the profile, as well as an acid reaction of the environment.
Permafrost phenomena play a significant role in the formation of the profile of permafrost-taiga soils. They affect the mechanical movement and mixing of the soil, as well as the migration of various substances along permafrost cracks. In another way, these phenomena are called cryozems.
The southern slopes of Eastern Siberia are characterized by arid conditions. Under these conditions, steppe cryoarid soils with a well-developed humus horizon are formed. In the northern and middle taiga, where an ultracontinental semi-arid climate is common, pale soddy-forest soils develop. Such soils are distinguished by a diverse composition and properties, quite often they have a pronounced humus horizon with a humate composition of humus and an environmental reaction that ranges from neutral to slightly alkaline.
The territory of the taiga, which is located in the Far East, is characterized by brown-taiga soils with a well-defined humus horizon, an acid reaction of the environment and a high content of humus. The properties of developed brown taiga soils have a number of similarities with soddy podzolic soils.
Characteristics of the main soils of the taiga
Due to the high level of humidity, the decomposition products of organic and mineral substances are stored in the lower soil layers, creating a clarified podzolic horizon. For this reason, podzolic soils are common in the taiga. The rest of the regions are dominated by permafrost.
Typical podzolic soils are characteristic of the middle taiga. In the north, due to excessive moisture, the podzolic process is supplemented by gley. As a result, gley-podzolic soils predominate in the north of the taiga. They are characterized by signs of gleying in the upper, podzolic-eluvial horizon. This type of soil is painted in blue and bluish-green shades, which become whitish-yellow when the soil dries.
In the southern territory of the taiga, where deciduous species with meadow grasses are widespread, podzolization is supplemented by a sod process. The development of this process contributed to the formation of soddy-podzolic soils containing a soddy horizon with a higher percentage of humus and ash elements than in ordinary podzolic soils.
Permafrost-taiga soils are widely distributed in the East Siberian permafrost-taiga region under deciduous forests. The area of these territories reaches about 200 million hectares. The soil is very moist, because it does not absorb melt and rain water. It has only acid reactions.
Taiga soil features
The key features of podzolic and soddy-podzolic soils with low natural fertility are:
An acute deficiency of a large number of important elements, in particular calcium, is observed in acidic taiga areas. This contributes to a decrease in the productivity of crops and pastures, as well as a number of livestock diseases. To replenish the missing elements, it is necessary to carry out land reclamation, through liming and fertilizing.